AGL Energy Limited (AGL) today announced that construction of the $300 million Nyngan Solar Plant is scheduled to commence with the head contractor, First Solar, mobilising to the site on 28 January 2014.

The Nyngan Solar Plant will take approximately 18 months to complete and will deliver 102 megawatts (MW) of renewable power, and provide a significant economic boost to the Nyngan region. It is expected to be fully operational by June 2015.

An estimated 300 direct construction jobs will be created to support the plant’s construction, with the majority of workers expected to be housed in an accommodation camp being built in Nyngan. Additional employment is expected to be created indirectly in restaurants, hotels and local businesses.

The Nyngan Solar Plant will be the largest solar power station in Australia, with more than 1,350,000 solar photovoltaic (PV) modules expected to be installed on the 250 hectare site.

The Plant will produce enough electricity to power more than 33,000 average New South Wales (NSW) homes¹ and will abate more than 203,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide every year, the equivalent of taking more than 53,000 cars off the road.

AGL's Group General Manager Merchant Energy, Anthony Fowler, said AGL was pleased to announce this important milestone in a project which began more than four years ago.

"The project will provide significant flow on benefits to the Nyngan region and we look forward to continuing to work closely with the community."

The Nyngan Solar Plant is the first of two large-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) projects that AGL will deliver with support from the Federal Government’s Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA)[i] and the NSW Government. Construction of the Broken Hill Solar Plant is scheduled to commence in mid 2014, and expected to be completed by the end of 2015.

First Solar will provide engineering, procurement and construction services for the Nyngan and Broken Hill Solar Plant projects, using its advanced thin-film PV modules. First Solar will also operate and maintain both projects for AGL for five years after commercial operation starts.

As part of AGL's commitment, a Community Consultative Committee (CCC) has been established for the Nyngan Solar Plant project. Interested community members are welcome to join and observe the next meeting which is scheduled for 6pm on Wednesday, 5 February 2014 at the Nyngan RSL Club.

1Based on average residential energy consumption of 7 MWh/yr in NSW.

About AGL

AGL is one of Australia's leading integrated renewable energy companies and is taking action toward creating a sustainable energy future for our investors, communities and customers. Drawing on over 175 years of experience, AGL operates retail and merchant energy businesses, power generation assets and an upstream gas portfolio. AGL has one of Australia's largest retail energy and dual fuel customer bases. AGL has a diverse power generation portfolio including base, peaking and intermediate generation plants, spread across traditional thermal generation as well as renewable sources including hydro, wind, landfill gas and biomass. AGL is Australia's largest private owner and operator of renewable energy assets and is looking to further expand this position by exploring a suite of low emission and renewable energy generation development opportunities.

About the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA)

ARENA was established by the Australian Government as an independent authority to make renewable energy technologies more affordable and increase the amount of renewable energy used in Australia. ARENA is funded through to 2022 to invest in renewable energy projects, support research and development activities, and increase industry and community knowledge about renewable energy.